Glial cells participate in histamine inactivation in vivo
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The ability of glial cells to take up histamine in vitro suggests that these cells may be involved in histamine inactivation. This prompted us to study the possible interactions between neuronal and glial processes which determine the histamine concentration in the synaptic cleft. In vitro experiments showed that the glial metabolic toxin, fluoroacetate (20 and 40mmol/l) depressed histamine uptake into cultured astroglial cells and dissociated hypothalamic cells of rats. For in vivo experiments, the push-pull superfusion technique was used. In anaesthetized rat, the anterior hypothalamic area was superfused through the push-pull cannula with artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) or with aCSF which contained fluoroacetate and the release of endogenous histamine was determined in the superfusate.
Hypothalamic superfusion with fluoroacetate (20mmol/l) led to a pronounced increase in extracellular histamine. The effect of fluoroacetate was inhibited by 5μmol/l tetrodotoxin. Superfusion with Ca++-free, Mg++-rich (12mmol/l) aCSF inhibited the basal release rate of histamine. Under these conditions, 20mmol/l fluoroacetate did not modify the level of the amine in the superfusate.
These data demonstrate that depression of glial function enhances the concentration of histamine in the extracellular space by slowing down the uptake of the amine into the glial cells. Thus, under in vivo conditions, glial cells are directly involved in the continuous removal of neuronal histamine from the synaptic cleft.
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